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Where Things Stand: The OTHER Reason The Filibuster Is So Devastating

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(Original Caption) Weary after failing to break an all night filibuster, Senate Republicans visit the Capitol Barber Shop to receive a "refreshing treatment." This photo shows Senator Leveret Saltonstall, (Rep.), of ... (Original Caption) Weary after failing to break an all night filibuster, Senate Republicans visit the Capitol Barber Shop to receive a "refreshing treatment." This photo shows Senator Leveret Saltonstall, (Rep.), of Mass., left, and Senator William E. Jenner, (Rep.) of Indiana. (Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 27, 2021 6:26 p.m.

(A lot going on in that photo beyond what the caption says, on so many levels. It is from June 21, 1947, after Senate Democrats spent the previous night filibustering the eventual GOP override of President Truman’s veto of Taft-Hartley.)

Set aside for a moment the big issues like democracy reform that we know are stymied by the filibuster — it’s a given that its anti-majoritarianism holds up major generational reforms. Its impact goes far beyond that. The ways in which the filibuster infects not just legislating but the basic task of governance is so pervasive that it’s become part of the background noise of Washington. We don’t notice it anymore, but it’s hugely significant.

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